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Greater benefits for those who have no benefits
THE ME FIRST TRAP                                           By Phil Guerena Sr.

Happiness is sought by all to get the most of life.  The proposal that I am always first in everything in order for me to fulfill my existence is very common.  Some would say, eat, drink and enjoy life for tomorrow you must die.  The dying part cannot be denied, but the rest can be deceiving.  Once I was giving marriage counseling to a couple who had the man of the home roaming wherever he wished.  He stated that he got married to be happy.  Just as long as the wife understood this, then she would allow him to do whatever in order to keep him happy.  I tried in vain to explain the better way by opening up the we and us of marriage. 
I knew of a young couple that had the man running around with many women and drinking himself drunk on weekends.  His wife felt abandoned and wanted out.  He went to a professional counselor who told him that he was first and as a man he must keep up his merry good times.  He followed this advice and things only got worse.  He went back to his advisor but found out that the man had committed suicide.  But in front of the deceased man’s office was one of our evangelical churches.  Confused and discouraged this young married man went looking for a pastor to help him.
He got biblical advice informing him that the commandment not to commit adultery was given to make us whole.  It was never intended to deprive of us of anything, rather to keep us faithful happy and healthy.  He was given encouraging ways to maintain a good faithful relationship with his life mate.  Quickly his marriage turned around and he started attending that church. 
The key to real happiness is not me, but us and them.  First of all marriage is a life covenant between man and his wife to honor and help each other. This promise can be formally made before society and God.  Now the break down comes when we come from bad examples of this marriage union.  Also we might get our ideas from idols that tear this commitment apart. 
In the bible we married men are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.  Many years ago I was giving a marriage conference to a church group of many married couples.  I began by telling them that my wife was never “my old lady.”  I have tried to ever keep her as my girlfriend.  I still like to take her out to eat, hold her hand and still open the car door for her.  When I had finished my counseling session, out in the parking lot of the church I saw every woman standing by the car door of their respective cars.  Soon one man ran to open the car door for his wife and then all the other men followed suit.  I must be willing to die for my wife as Christ died to save the church.  But his is impossible without His help. 
Jesus Christ said he who wants to be great among must be the servant of all.  This He told his disciples.  When they wrote letters to the churches they usually introduced themselves as slaves of Jesus Christ.  A slave must be obedient to his master.  Now true happiness is defined as serving others first and me last.  What I desire and want must be put secondary in order to make those around me successful.  Not that I would not accomplish anything, for those around me would also want to make me the best person possible.  The best speech ever given in American history is the Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States of America from 1861-1865.  There is even a monument erected in Gettysburg that honors that presentation.  This might also be the best speech given in all of history.  That document is all about us and nothing about me.  Of course this does not take in account any of the many talks that Jesus Christ gave.  There is a whole book written to honor Him and all of His works- The New Testament.  But Jesus Christ was the best man that ever lived or spoke. 
Rotary Clubs across the world are much acclaimed for the good they do to all for mankind.  Their motto even tells theirs intention for the human race- “Service above self.”  They must put themselves last in order to help the needy around the whole planet.  I have been with them on trips to encourage those in great need.  Rotarians literally put themselves first in helping out and greeting and being with the less fortunate. These people give us hugs, smiles, and gratitude for being served and encouraged.  Rotarians give an excellent example of reaching out and literally lifting up those in desperate poverty.  This is done gladly with funds, goods and personal interaction.  The camaraderie among Rotarians is truly friendly and greatly to be admired. 
The best leaders of the world have been those who gave themselves to serve others.  In Mexico we can mention Presidents Benito Juarez and Lazaro Cardenas who left the treasuries of their countries in very good shape without depleting funds for their own lives.  They only took the money due them in salaries, when it was available.  In the United States of America we can thank God for men like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D.  Eisenhower, Ronald Regan and a few others.  All of these leaders made their countries better by putting themselves last and their country first. 
Now, what can we do to make all those in our families and those close to us, better because they knew us and were part of us?   Jesus said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.”    Matthew 20:25-28 
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